Josh Koscheck vs. Robbie Lawler: What Went Wrong for Kos?
It took Robbie Lawler almost four minutes to knock out his opponent Josh Koscheck at UFC 157 last Saturday. The victory won him the knockout of the night bonus and marked his triumphant return to the UFC after an eight-and-a-half-year absence.
For Kos it was his second loss in a row and, even though the UFC's welterweight rankings are yet to be updated since the event in Anaheim, California, the loss puts the former contender in the worst place he's been in the division since the start of his career.
Things seemed to be going Kos' way at the beginning. Kos clearly showed no interest in standing with Lawler, a man who has an incredible 17 knockouts in his career. Instead, using his elite wrestling base, Kos went straight for Lawler's legs, and had him tied up against the cage for almost the entire round.
It's a strategy Kos has employed before to great effect. Against Paul Daley, for example, another viscious striker, the Pennsylvania native smothered his opponent for three rounds to earn the decision win.
But that tactic didn't work against Lawler.
Kos' big mistake was giving his opponent enough space to throw a single strike. And since Lawler throws nothing but bombs, that was all it took.
For the most part, Kos' wrestling had his opponent controlled, until late into the first round when Lawler was able to pin his opponent against the cage and throw what to all of us looked like an innocuous shot. However, it was enough to fell Kos, who slipped to the mat and took another, more brutally delivered hammer fist and he was out.
Most referees in most circumstances, including Herb Dean who was overseeing this match, would have given Kos a chance to come back. But not on this occasion. The sight of a dazed Kos on the floor ready to take another unanswered blow from Lawler was enough for Dean to intervene and stop the match.
That may have been premature. While the first shot had dazed Kos, the second had brought him back to attention. He looked alert as the referee stepped in, and seemed ready to start defending himself. But on this occasion he wasn't given a chance.
One slip up and an overzealous referee is all it took to hand Kos the loss, leaving him fighting for relevancy inside the UFC.
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